ALL STAR defender Jackie Tyrrell has delivered a damning verdict on Kilkenny’s Allianz National Hurling League final display, describing it as “the worst performance I was ever involved in with Kilkenny.”
The James Stephens powerhouse, who joined the Cats’ senior panel in 2003, was left devastated by a crushing 12-point defeat against Dublin at Croke Park in the Division One decider.
And Tyrrell, speaking in Limerick IT yesterday, admitted Kilkenny’s standards are “slipping”.
Tyrrell admitted: “It was the worst performance I was ever involved in with Kilkenny. It’s not just one or two things — a lot of things in our game weren’t up to scratch. Fair play to Dublin — they’re moving in the right direction but we seem to be going backwards. We have an awful lot of work to do.”
Tyrrell revealed Kilkenny felt ready for battle prior to the game but were left with no answers as Dublin restricted them to just 1-7 over the 70 minutes.
He said: “I thought we were going very well. Even in the dressing room before the match lads were tuned in. From the start of the game, Dublin set out their task and tempo and we just couldn’t match them.
“We were blown off the field in all aspects — physicality, fitness, speed, hurling. It’s something we have to address. We’ll all have to take a good long look at ourselves in the mirror and see what we’re all about.
“I think we need to get back to what we were doing in the last couple of years — an unbelievable work-rate, more so in our forwards, putting teams under pressure, forcing turnovers and getting scores. That was what we built our run on in winning the All-Irelands. (But) we’ve gone away from doing that — Dublin are doing it, all other teams are doing it. They’ve just passed us out and we need to get back to that.”
Tyrrell admitted it’s a “comfort” to have a number of top names returning for the championship to bolster an injury-ravaged squad, but warned that it’s no guarantee of success.
He said: “Things like leadership on Sunday were non-existent, and you can’t instil that in a team overnight.
“It is comfort that we have the lads coming back but we can’t rely on that alone. I don’t think any one of the 15 or the subs that came in can say they did themselves justice, worked hard for the team or anything like that. That’s letting your standards slip. We’ve held high standards and we’ve been proud of what we’ve done but we’ve slipped. But we’ve known that they’ve been slipping, we’ve been seeing it in our performances. We just carried on but on Sunday it all came to a head and we need to really, really seriously sit down and see what’s going on and what we can do about it.”
Tyrrell also admitted Dublin’s demolition job last Sunday left Kilkenny frustrated, leading to untypical incidents of indiscipline which look set to land a couple of players in hot water with GAA disciplinary chiefs.
He said: “It came out in all of us and came out probably in Eoin (Larkin) in the first half, John Dalton and a few other incidents as well where lads were getting frustrated. You never really see that out of Kilkenny teams really, lashing out and things like that. It was frustrating but we can’t point the finger at anyone — we just have to look at ourselves and start from there. If we get our own house in order and get back to what we were doing, we might have a chance.”
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